Is there a keyboard shortcut in Gmail which fully returns focus to the message list? The help short cut (?) shows a comma , as "Move focus to toolbar", but when I move it there, I can't get it back without clicking with the mouse.

Similarly, I sometimes get focus placed on the menu of other Google services at the top of the page.

In each of these situations, the indicator of the current message moves around with j or k, but if I hit enter, it does not open the message.

2 Answers 2


Use u to return to the message list. Also, ESC usually removes focus from toolbars, menus and similar which should make Enter work again - but also closes any open Gtalk dialogs. Otherwise just use o to open a message.

  • u doesn't work, but Esc works for me (Chrome on Mac OS).
    – Alex
    Dec 15, 2011 at 16:12
  • Aha, Esc works! Accepted. Dec 15, 2011 at 20:41

Use o to open the current message while the focus is in the toolbar.

  • That works, but doesn't help me open a message with the enter key. Dec 15, 2011 at 20:42
  • Also doesn't work if using split view. It "opens" the message but doesn't set focus there, so the up/down pgup/pgdown keys don't work.
    – Raman
    Apr 7, 2022 at 13:05

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